NEW YORK — Jul 6, 2014, 4:46 PM ET
By MICHAEL R. SISAK and JENNIFER PELTZ Associated Press
RIP Lt. Ambelas
A high-rise blaze that killed a fire lieutenant started in a pinched electrical cord in a cluttered apartment, fire officials said Sunday, adding that the fire had been ruled accidental.
An air-conditioner cord was pinned between a bed frame and a wall in the 19th-floor Brooklyn apartment, where Lt. Gordon Ambelas became trapped while looking for possible victims, Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said in a statement as investigators probed the conflagration responsible for the Fire Department of New York’s first line-of-duty death in more than two years.
“Though the cause and origin of the fire has been determined, the Department’s investigation remains ongoing,” Nigro added in a statement. A pinched electrical cord can fray or otherwise become damaged enough to spark a fire if it’s near combustible items, especially if heat builds up in a tight space.
Earlier Sunday, firefighters solemnly hung flag bunting at the Brooklyn firehouse where Ambelas had worked for the last several months of his 14-year career as residents returned to the building where he had died.
The fire broke out around 9:30 p.m. Saturday in the apartment, near the top of a 21-story building owned by the New York City Housing Authority. Flames spread to the 17th and 18th floors.
The apartment was crowded with belongings, making searches difficult, the Fire Department said.
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Hoarder Fire Bob Donaldson / Post-Gazette
By Molly Born / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Firefighters crawled over piles of books, newspapers and other items Tuesday morning while trying to put out heavy flames in a vacant house in Homestead.
Allegheny County assessment records show the house belonged to Margaret Mary Vojtko, the former Duquesne University adjunct professor of French whose death in September sparked a debate about the workloads and pay of adjuncts at U.S. universities.
A West Homestead firefighter was injured helping battle the blaze at 1110 Sylvan Ave. Homestead Deputy Fire Chief Ron Kalupson said the firefighter, whose name was not released, was taken to UPMC Mercy for observation after he received an electric shock while extending a hose.
The house, while unoccupied, still had electrical power, the deputy chief said.
Firefighters had to crawl over a lot of “debris” to extinguish flames coming from the second floor of the two-story brick home, the deputy chief said.
Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/local/south/2014/03/25/Firefighter-hurt-in-West-Homestead-blaze/stories/201403250176#ixzz2x55PoQ7L
News Video Coverage Found Here
Endicott, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Several fire departments responded to a second alarm house fire Tuesday morning.
The call came around 8:40 a.m. of reports of a house fire at 113 Roosevelt Ave.
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Guest Podcast Recorded with the folks from Firefighter Toolbox. Listen in as David J Soler interviews Ryan Pennington on tips for fighting Hoarder Fires:
Hoarding has been becoming a growing concern in our communities. How does this affect us firefighters? What does it matter?
Well, on this episode, I talk with Ryan Pennington, who has done a ton of research on the subject, and he tells us all about hoarding and how it affects us as firefighters and what we really need to know. So many issues arise from hoarder fires and our tactics need to be adjusted because of the different dangers. Get educated on them so you or your crews don’t get hurt. This is something that can happen in any district.
This and more.
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This article originally appeared in the January 2014 edition of Fire Magazine. To subscribe to the magazine visit http://www.pavpub.com/p-262-fire-magazine.aspx.
The hidden problem of hoarding
US Correspondent Catherine Levin reports on the growing problem of hoarding fires and what is being done to tackle the issue on both sides of the pond:
Photo from http://www.fire-magazine.com/
There is a small park on the corner of 128th Street and 5th Avenue in Harlem, New York. It is on a fairly quiet residential street but not far from the hustle and bustle of 125th St, a major transport hub in northern Manhattan. The park marks the footprint of the house that until 1947 was the home to the Collyer brothers and bears their name. The park is dark, dank and unloved; and often under threat of being renamed. This is not a surprise considering what happened to Langley and Homer Collyer, who were found dead in their home amongst 130 tonnes of junk including, famously, 14 grand pianos and a model T Ford car.
Fast forward 66 years to the present day and you will still find firefighters in the US and in the UK entering homes stacked to the rafters and inhabited by those suffering from hoarding disorder. Back in 1947 it would not have been categorised as such and indeed it was only earlier this year that hoarding was defined as a mental health disorder by the American Psychiatric Association.
It is possible that the only reason anyone is interested in hoarding right now is because of the power of television. In the UK and in the US, reality TV shows about hoarders are popular and have given a wide audience to this hitherto hidden phenomenon. London Fire Brigade has worked with the TV presenter Jasmine Harman. It was her programme, ‘My Hoarder Mum and Me’, which brought the problems of hoarding to a wider audience on the BBC back in 2011. As a result London Fire Brigade has developed its own training and awareness package for operational staff.
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